Tamara and Lorena met in London while studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and have collaborated on several projects since then. On a winter evening at a Marylebone cafe, from some random scribbles and lots of passionate ideas, XOGA was born.
Our main aim has been to use the Galician language as a vehicle of artistic expression for the operas we were thinking of producing. While researching potential repertoire we found the opera “O Arame” (The Tightrope) written in 2006 by Juan Durán with text by Manuel Lourenzo which became our first opera in the UK.
Tamara met Cecilia Stinton when they were both working for British Youth Opera. Impressed by her insight, talent and energy, Tamara asked her to become XOGA´s first director. Thanks to Cecilia we were lucky to bring the dancers Fran and Marysol on board. Our first Labarta, the Irish baritone Malachy Frame, was introduced to XOGA by Lorena.
Our ensemble – consisting of musicians from various countries – invested as much passion as us in our first project. And they acted with impressive professionalism when faced with “unusual” rehearsals with missing pianos…
In our first year we were awarded with an Arts Grant from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and successfully run a crowdfunding campaign through Verkami. XOGA was also selected by YCAT (Young Classical Artists) for their mentoring program.
In July 2017 we premiered “O Arame” at Magdalen College in Oxford with the help of Laura Blanco de la Barrera, lecturer of Galician at Oxford University. Two weeks later we premiered the opera in London at the The Tabernacle, where we were joined by the composer himself and a large group of enthusiastic students of Galician from the Spanish School Cañada Blanch London. The performance was attended by the head of music programming from the Omnibus Theatre, who has subsequently invited us to perform the opera in June 2018.
Xoga [ʃoga] from Latin iocāri – verb (imp.) To play
Many languages refer to music-making as if it were a game. In English you can either play the tambourine or play hide-and-seek. Older forms of the verb “to play” meant to exercise, to dance or to leap for joy.
Energetic, fun and uplifting concepts!
Meanwhile, in the Iberian Peninsula, we just “touch” (tocar). Obviously, unless you play air guitar, you need to touch your instrument… and the rest of the magic: the movement, the game, the interaction with others?
We like the old-fashioned use, and although we will keep touching our instruments, we want to xogar!
XOGA WITH US!
OUR MISSION STATEMENT
A platform for artists to produce new & rarely performed works and to forge a Galician musical theatre identity, promoting female talent and uniting audiences from different backgrounds and generations